Senator Wilton Simpson

floridafallenheroes.org

A new law will now expand the eligibility of those who want to have a Gold Star License plate. The aim is to allow more members of the family to recognize their loved one who died in combat. 

DRI.com

Governor Rick Scott will have to decide soon whether he wants to give his Department of Economic Opportunity more power to green light planned communities, shopping malls and other large construction projects. As Jim Ash reports, environmentalists spent much of the session fighting the attempt by conservative Republicans.

I

Florida legislation could impose greater state oversight on red light cameras.
Robert Couse-Baker via Flickr

Using cameras to write tickets was greenlit years ago, but now a state lawmaker is calling for those green lights to turn yellow.  As Nick Evans reports, Senator Jeff Brandes is pushing for municipalities to report on existing red light cameras and try alternative measures before setting up more.

Florida Channel

Attorney General Pam Bondi says she’s on board with a bill making it easier for sexual abuse victims under the age of 17 to privately record their attacker so it can hold up in a Florida court.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to get that through because that’s very, very important. But, just know, that it’s a very narrow, narrow field, and only has to do with children and rape victims—not just at the hands of their parents, but any pedophile,” said Bondi, during a recent Associated Press gathering in Tallahassee.

After the issue died during the 2014 session, should Florida lawmakers revisit a push to make changes to municipal pensions largely affecting police and firefighter unions? A coalition made up of mainly business-backed groups say yes. But, some say while they agree, the recent formation of the coalition pushing for local pension reform is disingenuous.

Bill To Be Filed In 2015

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

The sponsor of a measure aimed at overhauling the state’s pension system says that effort’s dead, but bill supporters and opponents alike say they won’t declare the win or loss until the 2014 Legislative Session comes to an end.

It’s Day 59 of the 60-day legislative Session. But, with session coming close to close, a procedural move by Clearwater Republican Senator Jack Latvala Wednesday may have blocked this year’s effort to overhaul the state’s pension system.

Getty Images / Getty Images

Overhauling the Florida Retirement System could be up in the air, after a procedural move in the Senate may have blocked that chamber from taking up a similar effort that merges both the state pension overhaul and a non-controversial effort to fix a troubled local pension system.

Sen. Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee)—who has the biggest number of public employees in his North Florida district—says he questions the need for an effort to overhaul the state’s pension system, which he says Legislature tries to do almost every year.

chartingyourfinancialfuture.com

The Florida House passed a bill Friday that merges two pension reform proposals: one dealing with local pensions and another dealing with the state’s pension system. But, it’s unclear what will happen in the other chamber now that the combined bill is still two separate proposals in the Senate.

Rep. Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton) is one of the sponsors of the merged House proposal. He contributed the part of the proposal that deals with overhauling the Florida Retirement System.

Getty Images

A bill allowing tax collectors to help Florida meet a rising demand for concealed weapon permit applications passed the full Senate Friday and is now heading to the Governor.

“This bill allows county tax collectors the ability to apply to the Agriculture Commissioner and request that the Commissioner appoint them, so they can accept applications for concealed weapons license,” said Sen. Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby), the bill's sponsor.

And, Senate Democratic Leader Chris Smith says this is a gun-related measure that he can get behind.

Getty Images

The Senate’s pension reform proposal is now heading to the floor, after it passed its last committee Tuesday. But, tension surrounding the pension issue is mounting as those opposed say they’re tired of the legislature’s continual attacks on state workers.

Beverly Ledbetter is a longtime resident of Pasco County. She’s a former teacher who taught for 36 years, and she’s now receiving benefits under the Florida Retirement System’s defined benefit plan known as the traditional pension plan. But, she says it wasn’t always that way.

Florida Channel

A pension reform proposal is now heading to the House floor, while its Senate companion just cleared its first official committee. While both now scaled-back bills have their differences, they have an equal amount of opposition from public employees and most Democrats stacked against them.

Trilby Republican Senator Wilton Simpson’s bill has gone through several changes, and Thursday, during the Senate Government Oversight and Accountability Committee, it was no different.

MGN Online

A Senate proposal to overhaul the Florida Retirement System could have its first official committee hearing later this week. But, The recently scaled-back proposal—already starting to move in the House—could still be in trouble in the Senate.

Last week, the House State Affairs Committee agreed to advance a measure aimed at overhauling the state’s retirement system.

R.Benk / WFSU-News

Both chambers of the Florida Legislature are trying to push through reforms to the way the state regulates the environment. Some call the proposals an affront to local sovereignty, while others call the move common sense. But increasing differences between the Senate and House versions of the measure are leading some to question whether it has a chance of passing this session.

Jessica Palombo / WFSU News

Customers of privately owned water companies could see their rates drop, if one state senator gets his bill passed in the 2014 legislative session. Sen. Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby) wants to make it illegal for private water utilities to charge a higher rate than government-owned utilities in the same county.

On Thursday afternoon in the city of Tallahassee’s water quality laboratory, small vials were rotating around a machine that looks like an old slide projector.